This paper is a proposal to change the lack of diversity in Medtronic, where I have worked for the past ten years. The paper recognizes the problem of lack of gender diversity in higher management since only white men occupy the high management position. The paper highlights the opportunities of developing this change, noting that the company already has a mandatory training program, and a mentorship program, intended to encourage diversity within the workplace. The paper discusses the rationale behind the proposal, by observing the benefits and value of having a workplace diversified in terms of gender. It further looks at some of the alternatives that the management can employ in implementing the changes.
I am writing this proposal to suggest ways of improving gender diversity in the workplace, especially in high managerial positions
Medtronic employs many people of diverse backgrounds. The company is one of the most diverse places that I have ever worked. It encourages diversity by having programs, which raise awareness and educate all the workers concerning diversity issues in the workplace. The workforce is diverse, consisting of people of different ages and from different races and ethnicities. It also has many women working for it. The company has done much to ensure diversity in the workplace. However, there is a problem of ensuring that the same diversity applies in higher management. Women are not represented well in this area. They do not have equal opportunities to occupy positions of higher management, which seems to be the preserve of white men
I work in a nationally based business unit, which has only one district manager and two regional vice presidents, despite the high number of people the business serves. There is an opportunity to have more representation of the female workers. This will be enhanced by restructuring, and creating higher managerial positions. It will not only ensure diversity once the project is implemented, but it will also ensure greater efficiency in the delivery of products and services and in other business operations. The company has a mandatory training program, which it conducts annually. In addition, it has many mentoring groups and advisories, which educate the employees concerning diversity, and ensures growth in diversity awareness.
It is important to have a diverse workforce in terms of age, race, gender, and ethnicity. People have different experiences, ideals, ideas, objectives, and perspectives in life, all of which can serve to improve a company by ensuring more efficiency, and by increasing productivity. Women have a more positive attitude towards work when they are assured of fairness during promotions. They work hard towards ensuring that they qualify for the positions of high management. This has positive results for the company because it results to higher productivity and greater efficiency, as the women prove that they have what it takes to occupy the leadership positions. It will also lead to higher retention of employees. Companies that do not develop fair workplace conditions, experience higher turnovers, compared to companies that give everyone a fair chance of succeeding and realizing his or her career goals. High turnover periods affect the employees who choose to remain with the organization. This has a negative financial effect on the company, and it can end up incurring losses. The employees are less motivated when working, increase their rates of absenteeism, lower their productivity, and spend their time looking for other jobs (Karsten, 2006).
Having a diversified work environment will ensure greater cooperation among the employees, and it will enhance the level of respect among the employees. In male-dominated organizations, there are high reports of women being treated rudely because of their gender. There is more sexual harassment and unfair treatment of women because of their gender. By giving women a chance to hold leadership and high management positions, the company would be giving women a voice. Women would have more authority, and even women in lower positions will feel more confident about themselves, and about their abilities. Women who have more voice on their jobs contribute more towards the organization. They have greater work satisfaction and confidence (Paludi, 2012). When women are not given an equal chance of high representation in high management, men will continue to hold their stereotypical views about them.
Some men believe that they have to use different approaches in work-related issues when they are interacting with women. This results to them giving poor feedback concerning women’s work since they do not believe that women are not capable of handling the reality (Leadership and Motivation Training, n. d.). They will continue to think that women are not up to the challenges of management. Giving women the chance to work alongside men will help men get rid of such perceptions. It will give them a chance to see that women are capable of management, and they are just as effective as men are (Paludi, 2012). Companies that do not have a diversified workforce face the risk of incurring legal expenses, if the workers feel that the company has discriminatory behaviors. The employees will sue the company’s management, and the management has to spend money defending itself (Karsten, 2006).
Women have different leadership and management styles compared to men. They are relational and people oriented, and they are efficient at motivating the employees. They are collaborative, and will often seek the opinion of their colleagues when making decisions. They make sure that they involve the employees, so that they can get their opinion. Employee involvement within organizations is especially important when implementing changes because it ensures greater cooperation and success of the change. This style of leadership makes the employees feel valued for their contributions, and they develop a positive attitude towards work. Thus, the kind of leadership that women leaders use will lead to greater employee satisfaction and lower turnovers. Gender diversity in the workplace leads to more customers and subsequent increase in sales revenue and greater relative profits (Herring, 2009).
In many cases, managers and leaders within an organization oblige their employees to take diversity training when they have not worked out and established their beliefs concerning the importance of diversity within the workplace. They do so without realizing the benefits that diversity offers and the value it adds to the organization (Karsten, 2006). This decreases their influence on diversity management in the workplace. The company already holds training and mentorship programs for all its employees, but this has not been effective for the last ten years I have worked there. The male employees in the office continue to distance themselves from their female counterparts. They do cooperate with them when they are working, but they distinguish themselves by forming cliques and the ‘good old boys clubs’. Only the white men hold the high management positions, as they keep promoting themselves to positions of high status. Women often feel secluded and they do not feel that they belong to the specific group or company, despite the mentoring programs available in many companies seeking to ensure gender diversity (Learning and Motivation Training, n. d.).
The company should change and improve its recruitment strategies. It should look for, and recruit women with high qualifications, even if they are not applying for top management positions. This will ensure that it does not have a shortage of women applicants when considering employees for promotions. The company should have a transparent system. The system will enable the employees to know how they can progress from their previous post, by detailing the qualifications that they need. The company should revise its training and mentorship program, to incorporate culture change within the program. Culture change will ensure a change in mentality and perception. The culture change should target the top management since the managers make the promotional decision. It will enable them to accept women in leadership positions, and it will get rid of the ‘good old boys’ clique.
The company should restructure its promotion system, and it should do it through the human resource department. This is because the department is aware of all the employees’ qualifications as it is concerned with all aspects of the employees’ welfare while they work in the organization. The management should consider recruiting people from outside the organization to hold management leadership, in addition to giving the existing employees a chance. The applications should pass through the human resource department. This will ensure that the hiring and promotional efforts within the organization are not the sole responsibility of the management. The management will consider restructuring the company, at least in some departments. Right now, the management uses a lean structure with very few management positions, even for busy units, which serve many people. It will then advertise the positions for interested applicants to apply and fill.
The management should conduct data analysis on management. The data collection process will largely involve the human resource department. The management will note the number of employees it has in every department and section of the company. It will then note the gender of all the employees in different sections, and the positions they hold. This will enable the management to have a clear understanding of the lack of diversity within the company. Based on this analysis, the management will identify ways through which it can increase its diversity within the organization. It will then come up with a policy or directive that will guide future employment. These policies will include directives that will detail the percentage of women who will hold managerial positions and the criteria that the management will use for promotions. The management will ensure that all the employees in the organization know of the policies, as this will increase its accountability. During recruitment and hiring periods, the management will refer to the established policies.
The increased involvement of the human resource department and the recruitment of managers from outside the organization seem to be a good alternative for the organization. This is because the human resource department will scrutinize all the applications and ensure that they all the applicants have the necessary qualifications. Regardless of the alternative used, the management will have to take an active role in ensuring the success of all the diversity programs implemented. The human resource department will especially be useful after the management advertises for the new positions. The officials within the department will play a fundamental role in the selection process. This will encourage transparency and develop greater accountability on the part of the management.
Select and implement chosen alternative
The managers will take an active role since they have made previous hiring and promotion decisions in the past. They have especially been active in deciding the people to occupy the top management positions. This exercise will involve the management and the human resource department. The management has to realize its discriminatory behavior when it comes to considering women for top positions. The business unit where I work will develop different managerial positions based on the different sections. Since there are only three top management positions, serving nationally, the management will come up with a structure, which will encourage the formation of positions in different departments. This includes human resource departments, sales and marketing departments, administrative assistants in all the established departments, finance and accounting department, purchasing and supplies departments, and any other department, which will enhance the running of business operations within the unit. It will then advertise the positions on the local media channels, internet-based channels, and on the company’s website. The advertisements will feature the qualifications required from the applicants in terms of the level of experience and academic achievements. This will ensure that all the applicants will have an equal chance of representation.
The will involve the human resource department producing all the documents of the applicants who have applied for top management positions. The management will then sort through the applications, and it will determine the number of women who applied for different positions. Out of the women applicants, the managers will decide which of the women had the qualifications required to fill the positions, and they will examine their reasons for not considering the women applicants. This exercise will enable the management to have a clear idea of their male-dominated managerial positions. It is important for managers to realize the existence of a glass ceiling within the company. This glass ceiling prevents women from gaining positions of high management.
Follow up-to determine the effectiveness of decision
To determine whether any of the training programs and the restructuring has changed the mentality of the workers and the management, the women employed in the management position will have to have held their positions for at least three months. This will enable them to learn more about their roles, and understand their colleagues better. It will enable them to observe the situations around the workplace, and gauge the worker’s attitudes towards their management. During this time, the women manager or managers will check for any cooperation from the other managers.